William Culver was a Toledo police detective who had a national reputation for solving crime. He was born in Toledo in 1882. On July 10, 1911 he became a member of the Toledo Police Department and gained the rank of detective on May 16, 1914. He was considered an "ace sleuth," and was especially known for the role he played in rounding up two well-known gangs of robbers.
In 1920 he played an active role in the roundup of the "Cowboy Hill" bank robbers at Franklin Avenue. During the arrest Archie Dennison was killed and Detective Steve Quinn was shot. More importantly, he was responsible for solving the $1,000,000 Toledo Post Office robbery and the Moreton Bond House robbery in 1921 during which two Detroit policemen were killed.
William Culver's knowledge of the underworld and his ability to remember the faces of criminals were two key factors in solving these crimes. State Senator F. W. K. Tom had witnessed the incident from the Toledo Club and mentioned that one of the robbers wore a mask on the lower part of his face. Culver knew that Charles "Splitlip" Schultz had a facial deformity. He arrested Charles and his criminal friend Joe Urbaytis.
William and his partner, "Big Bill" Delehanty, patiently gathered information from the local underworld. William located a watch stolen in the robbery after he learned from a tip-off that a taxi driver had dropped something down a drain. Culver and his partner found the taxi driver and arrested James Feese who promptly confessed and named the other robbers. Schultz, Urbaytis, and Feese were sentenced to long prison terms in Michigan and Federal prisons.
William Culver also had a reputation for being able to identify a "confidence man" at a distance. Because of this, they "steered clear of Toledo."(Toledo Biography Scrapbook, Local History Collection, Toledo/Lucas County Public Library.)
On September 4, 1935, after an illness of several months, William Culver died of septicemia at the age of 53 years. He was survived by his wife, Blanche. On the day he died the flag was flown at half-staff at the Safety Building. At his funeral police colleagues acted as pall-bearers and his body was "escorted" to the grave by a "platoon of uniformed police."(Toledo Blade, 5 September 1935.) Culver is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in section 145, lot 31.
William Culver's head stone
(Photography of Woodlawn Cemetery by Josef Schneider.)